The Best Music, Food & Culture Festivals in the Caribbean

Maria Jordão

Published on
The Best Music, Food & Culture Festivals in the Caribbean

When daydreaming about your trip to the Caribbean, you probably think of turquoise waters, sandy beaches, lush forests, warm tropical weather, and incredible marine life experiences. This paradisiacal region includes 32 countries, 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. But have you planned for the Caribbean festivals that happen throughout the year? Yes, the Caribbean has an exciting cultural scene besides its natural beauty. You'll find music, food, sports and arts festivals all-year-round, especially during the summer months. 

We've gathered a list of the best Caribbean festivals to help you make the most out of your time there. So beyond researching the top waterfalls, yachting locales, and beaches to visit, plan for some local events too. You won't regret getting to know this lively culture just a little bit better. 

Party Dominican Republic

Beach parties, food, drinks & culture—enjoy the best the Caribbean has to offer

Anguilla

Moonsplash Music Festival

Theme: Music

Next dates: TBD 2021

Location: Anguilla

How about attending a reggae festival at musician Bankie Banx's privately owned dune preserve? Moonsplash is a weekend music event curated by the artist himself since the 90s. Come for the beach parties and amazing nature or visit The Dune Preserve restaurant & bar all year-round and catch a live performance.

Extraordinary Eats

Theme: Food

Next dates: April 2021 (dates TBD)

Location: Anguilla

Come for the seafood and stay for the entertainment. Extraordinary eats is a foodie's dream come true. Indulge on two weeks of prix-fixe menus at top restaurants, and local pub crawls. It's the perfect way to get to know Anguillian food, culture, and the culinary arts. 

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua Sailing Week

Theme: Sailing race event

Next dates: 24-30 April 2021

Location: Antigua and Barbuda

Sailors and yachts from around the world come to Antigua for this international and world-renowned event. It's one of the world's major sailing events and takes place for a whole week. Enter the race or come to watch the competition, you won't regret it. 

Sailing Festival

Bring your yacht or come for the race in Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba

Soul Music Beach Festival

Theme: Music 

Next dates: 26-31 May 2021

Location: Oranjestad, Aruba 

Enjoy five full days of musical performances, live comedy, beach parties, and delicious food. If you love soul music, this is the event for you. Make the best out of memorial day weekend with friendly strangers, groovy music, fantastic weather, and little sleep. This festival will keep you entertained 24/7. And extend your vacation past the festival to enjoy the wonders of Aruba. 

Bahamas

All Andros Crab Fest 

Theme: Food 

Next dates: One weekend in June 2021

Location: Queen's Park, Fresh Creek, Bahamas

This festival will surely get you out of your crabby mood. Every year, for one weekend in June, locals celebrate all things crab-related. The Andros island, known as "The Land of Crabs," hosts programming such as a crab cultural show, crab cooking recipes, releasing crabs, a culinary crab contest, and crabs of Andros life cycle display, and musical performances.

Junkanoo Summer Festival

Theme: Culture

Next dates: TBD 2021

Location: Nassau, Bahamas

This immersive festival will introduce you to the unique traditions and culture of the Bahamas. The Junkanoo Summer Festival is a street parade originating from the ethnic population "Akan" in Ghana and Ivory Coast in Africa. It's a great way to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Bahamas through music, dancing, and joyful costumes.

Barbados

Vujaday Music Festival

Theme: Music 

Next dates: TBD 2021

Location:  Barbados

Dance in the moonlight at Vujaday Music Festival. Party with pop and electro sensations like Diplo, Clarian, DJ Holographic, Louie Vega, and many more. This festival is definitely worth the trip. Enjoy a carefully selected line-up, flawless beaches, and unforgettable sunsets. You'll get to know the area pretty well as the festival takes place over five days in various locations around the island.


DJ at a boat party

Sing and dance to International DJs and emerging musicians 

Cayman Islands 

Taste of Cayman Food and Drink Festival

Theme: Food and Beverages

Next dates: 24 Oct 2021

Location: Cayman Islands

Try Cayman's rich culinary heritage at the Taste of Cayman. This event attracts large crowds, so plan ahead and bring the family. Besides delicious food, you'll find live performances, music, and mixologists showing off their skills.

Curaçao

Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival

Theme: Music

Next dates: 2-3 April 2021

Location: Curaçao

Curaçao is keeping the blues alive through the BlueSeas Festival. Listen to top blues musicians sing and improvise tunes while experiencing a bit of island-living in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. You'll be impressed by this cultural melting-pot. 



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Dominica

Dominica Carnival - The Real Mas!

Theme: Carnival

Next dates: 5-16 Feb 2021

Location: Dominica

Did you know you can celebrate Carnival in the Caribbean? Witness an authentic and traditional experience of honoring Dominica's Carnival at Mas Domnik, also known as the Real Mas. Dance to calypso music, show off your costume, and learn about the history of Arawak and Kalinago people. 

World Creole Music Festival

Theme: Music 

Next dates: 23-25 Oct 2021

Location: Dominica

The World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) is a three-day music festival dedicated to promoting indigenous Dominican music originating from the Caribbean, French Antilles, Africa, and North America. It's the best way to get to know and enjoy Creole culture and music. Listen and dance to Cadence-lypso, Kompa, Zouk, Soukous, Bouyon, and Zydeco musical performances all day long.

Grenada

Grenada Chocolate Fest 

Theme: Chocolate

Next dates: May 2021 (dates TBD)

Location: Grenada

All chocoholics are invited to Grenada Chocolate Fest. Savor various chocolates from five chocolate factories, including the world-famous Grenada Chocolate Company. Learn about cocoa farming, and chocolate-making, and try local food and drinks. You might pack a few pounds during this week, but it'll be well worth it. 

Jamaica

Calabash International Literary Festival

Theme: Literature

Next dates: 28-30 May 2021

Location: Treasure Beach, Jamaica

Instead of packing summer reads in your suitcase, attend the Calabash International Literary Festival. It's a three-day festival for literature-lovers made up of readings, music, and other mediums for storytelling. It's the only annual international literary festival in the English-speaking Caribbean. And best of all, festival events are free and open to the public. 

Jamaica Rum Festival

Theme: Food and Beverages

Next dates: TBD 2021

Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Rum is Jamaica's official liquor—which explains why there's a whole festival dedicated to it. Some experts even call Jamaican rum's distinct flavor "funky." So next time you want to get funky while in the Caribbean, visit the Jamaica Rum Festival and try some of the country's finest rum, food, and live music as well as specialized seminars and workshops. 

Reggae drummer

Reggae drummer in Jamaica 

Reggae Sumfest 

Theme: Music

Next dates: 18-24 July, 2021

Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica

If you love the chill beats of a great reggae song, don't miss Reggae Sumfest. It's the largest music festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean, taking place in Montego Bay during the peak of summer in mid-July. Sumfest has been attracting crowds since 1993, and it has earned a reputation as the Caribbean's leading music festival. Top reggae musicians such as Ziggy Marley, Damian Marley, and Bunny Wailer have performed there as well as international pop sensations like Kayne West, Rihana, and Nicki Minaj. This year Reggae Sumfest has a virtual line-up, but you can also start prepping for their 2021 live event.  

Saint Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts Music Festival

Theme: Music 

Next dates: June 2021 (dates TBD)

Location: Saint Kitts, a.k.a Saint Christopher Island

St. Kitts Music Festival is a great place to boogie. Besides being blown away by this country's natural beauty, the Caribbean island of St. Kitts will likely wow you by this magical musical extravaganza hosted each summer. You'll find performances with all kinds of music genres here—Soul, Soca, Jazz, R&B, Calypso, Merengue, Zouk, Cadence, Dancehall, Reggae, Gospel and Blues. It's the music festival for everyone. 

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia Jazz Festival 

Theme: Music 

Next dates: May 2021 (dates TBD)

Location: Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is an island state in Central America, and it's home to Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, a local event held every year in the spring for over twenty years. Keep things classy with an eclectic mix of jazz concerts, art shows, street parties, and delicious Caribbean cuisine. 

Pro tip: Make sure you plan ahead of time since accommodation may be scarce during the festival. 

St Lucia Dive Festival 

Theme: Dive 

Next dates: 5-12 Sep 2021

Location: Saint Lucia

Every diver should visit St Lucia Dive Fest at the Anse Chastanet Resort at least once. It's the best way to celebrate Saint Lucia's marine life. Spend an entire week diving, completing PADI courses, and participating in photographic competitions. And if non-divers accompany you, there's plenty of activities for them to do as well, like going whale and dolphin-watching, kayaking, sailing, biking, and more.  

Saint Martin

SXM Festival

Theme: Music 

Next dates: 10-15 March 2021

Location: St. Martin 

Enjoy beautiful surroundings, open-air nightclubs, impressive villas, Creole cuisine, and an epic selection of house and techno international DJs and emerging artists. Each environment is carefully decorated and designed with recycled materials, making it that much more immersive and magical. SXM Festival is an unbelievable adventure that will keep you coming back for more.

Maria Jordão
Writer
Lisbon, Portugal
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